The Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) is the highest prize awarded to competing films at the Cannes Film Festival. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film. From 1964 to 1974 it was replaced again by the Grand Prix du Festival.
Until 1954, the Jury of the Festival de Cannes awarded a “Grand Prix of the International Film Festival” to the best film. The prize was redesigned each year by a different contemporary artist. At the end of 1954, the Festival’s Board of Directors invited several jewellers to submit designs for a palm, in tribute to the coat of arms of the City of Cannes. The original design by the jeweller Lucienne Lazon had the bevelled lower extremity of the stalk forming a heart, and the pedestal a sculpture in terracotta by the artist Sébastien.
In 1955, the first Palme d’Or in the history of the Festival was awarded to Delbert Mann for his film Marty. The Palme d’Or was established as the Festival’s highest award until 1964, when the Festival temporarily resumed awarding a Grand Prix due to copyright problems with the Palm. In 1975, the Palme d’Or was reintroduced and became again the symbol of the Cannes Film Festival, awarded each and every year since to the director of the Best Feature Film of the Official Competition. The award was presented in a case of pure red Morocco leather, lined with white suede.
Since its reintroduction, the prize has been redesigned several times. At the beginning of the 1980s, the rounded shape of the pedestal, bearing the Palm, gradually transformed to become pyramidal in 1984. In 1992, Thierry de Bourqueney redesigned the Palm and its pedestal in hand-cut crystal. In 1997, the Palm was again modernised by Caroline Scheufele. The present Palm, made of 24-carat gold, is hand cast into a wax mould, then attached to a cushion of a single piece of cut crystal. The award is today presented in a case of blue Morocco leather.
1946 Torment Alf Sjöberg Sweden, The Lost Weekend Billy Wilder United States, The Red Meadows Bodil Ipsen and Lau Lauritzen Jr. Denmark, Brief Encounter David Lean United Kingdom. Portrait of Maria Emilio Fernandez Mexico, Neecha Nagar Chetan Anand India, The Turning Point Fridrikh Ermler Soviet Union, La Symphonie Pastorale Jean Delannoy France, The Last Chance Leopold Lindtberg Austria, Men Without Wings František Čáp Czechoslovakia, Rome, Open City Roberto Rosselini Italy / 1947 not awarded / 1948 not held / 1949 The Third Man Carol Reed United Kingdom / 1950 not held / 1951 Miss Julie Alf Alf Sjöberg Sweden, Miracle in Milan Vittorio de Sica Italy / 1952 The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice Orson Welles United States, Two Cents Worth of Hope Renato Castellani Italy / 1953 The Wages of Fear Henri-Georges Clouzout France / 1954 Gate of Hell Teinosuke Kinugasa JapanRead less